Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Not Quite the Way I Planned

A sunny, cold day began with a knock at the door. Last week, Charlie and his boys tried to clean out the sewer pipes, only to find that what they really needed was to be replaced. They were going to do that today, starting at 8:30...supposedly. The fellow was giving me a quick warning. He came back up about a half-hour later to actually shut off my sinks, by which time I was dressed and having breakfast.

Went into taking down the last of the Christmas decorations after breakfast. I rounded up the remaining few bits that go in the Santa Bag - the needlepoint poinsettia magnet I got at a Christmas church craft show two years ago, the mistletoe, the crocheted coasters I made myself two years ago, the Nativity, the poinsettia placemats, the wreath, the box of New Year's party supplies. The garlands go in here, too. As with the tree, it takes a lot less time to take them down than it does to hang them. (Though I'm sure I'll be finding mylar bits and tacks on the floor for at least a week or two.)

And that's it for my Christmas. I'll change the dolls sometime this weekend and start cleaning later this week. My holiday season was, overall, one of the nicest I've had in years, and a big improvement over Christmas 2014.

Ran The Three Musketeers while I got the decorations organized. Young D'Artangan (Chris O'Donnell) comes to Paris to join the King's personal bodyguards, the Musketeers. He's too late - the evil Cardinal Richelieu (Tim Curry) has disbanded the group. Only four Musketeers, Porthos (Oliver Platt), Aramis (Charlie Sheen), and Athos (Kiefer Sutherland) remain loyal to the crown. The quartet discover a dastardly plot by Richelieu and the Lady DeWinter (Rebecca DeMornay) to murder the king and start a war with England. The Musketeers follow DeWinter, then invade the King's birthday party to help save the throne.

On one hand, this isn't what you'd call historically accurate, and it's not really that book-accurate, either. It is a cracking good romp with a lot of actors having a great time hamming it up all over the place (especially Curry as the sneering villain and Platt as the most boastful and comic of the Musketeers). Unlike Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, this one isn't going for epic. It's just out to have a good time. If you're looking for a lighter swashbuckler and can handle the goofiness, this is all for one, and one for a lot of fun.

First stop on today's errands was the Oaklyn Library. I mostly just organized DVD's. They were fairly quiet, maybe because it was still very cold (though not quite bad as the last few days). Even so, it was nearly quarter of 1 when I headed out to Haddonfield.

When I got in, I made a quick stop at a small book shop on King's Highway. It just opened not long ago. I didn't really get a chance to take more than a cursory glance. I had to eat lunch somewhere. I ended up at Nicky B's on Haddon Avenue, with a quick cheesesteak wrap and iced tea.

I rushed into counseling and made it just on find out Mrs. Stahl had someone else there. She insisted there was a mistake. I was not happy. I know I shouldn't have let out that scream or gotten upset, but I was so frustrated. I KNOW she wrote down January 6th. She swore she wrote down the 5th! She's not the one who has to take time out from work to hike all the way up there in the cold, and I was mad about rushing. I rescheduled and stormed out.

Even a stop at the candy shop down on the corner of Haddon Avenue and King's Highway for my favorite chocolate Neccos didn't make me feel better. The Neccos just didn't seem to taste as good as usual. Since it was much too cold to stop for water ice, I rode down to Collingswood instead. I'd seen a new record store there and thought it might make me feel better.

It wasn't nearly as big of a store as the one in Woodbury, but it was actually a bit nicer. While the prices ranged anywhere from 3 to 40 dollars, there were unsorted records on shelves under the main bins that could be had for as little as a dollar. That's where I made most of my finds.

The big ones were soundtracks, for the 1968 musical version of Goodbye Mr. Chips with Petula Clark and Peter O'Toole and The Pirate Movie. I was absolutely thrilled to find The Pirate Movie soundtrack! Considering it's a bit of a cult film, that's one I never thought I'd find offline, and certainly not for a dollar! (It was one of the ones from the shelves.) The other dollar record was:

Arlo Guthrie - Hobo's Lullaby

When I got home, I listened to The Pirate Movie soundtrack while working on writing. The toy soldiers have reached Toyland Town just in time! The trolls are attacking the Christmas Festival, and Barnaby just revealed to Betty who owns part of the Toy Factory and why he wants to marry her so badly.

Oh, and by the way, first of all, I found the date Mrs. Stahl wrote down for the next session back in November on my refrigerator. Yes, it said the 6th quite clearly. I think we both had some major miscommunication here. She must have written it down wrong in her book. I'll bring it to show it to her next time.

Second, Charlie and the plumber were not done by 3:30, as they planned. The plumber didn't turn on the water until almost 6:30. I heard the plumber cursing at Charlie this morning, probably because he wasn't prepared or was taking too long. I wish that man would remember that other people do have schedules and lives.

Did Tarzan while eating leftover quiche for dinner and finishing out the pineapple coconut cake. Disney's version of the beloved pulp tales tells of a baby who was raised by gorillas in the African jungle. While Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn) loves his home, his friends, and especially his mother (Glenn Close), his silverback gorilla father makes it very clear he's not one of them. He finds out just how different he is when a scientist, his sensible daughter Jane (Minnie Driver), and the aggressive hunter Clayton (Brian Blessed) arrive in the jungle. Jane and her dad are there to study apes and other wildlife. Clayton just wants to bag some game. Tarzan's fascinated by their world and is falling for Jane, but he still loves his family and jungle home. When his family and new friends are threatened, he has to decide where it is he really belongs.

The last of the big 90's Disney movies is a bit of an oddity. It's not quite a musical (most of the songs are performed over the soundtrack by Phil Collins) and really has more in common with the action films Disney did in the early 2000's. The animation is amazing - I love Tarzan surfing through the trees - and the voice cast is having fun. Driver is especially good as the chatty, adorable Jane. Though the music is probably not necessary, that doesn't mean it's isn't enjoyable. I'm a fan of Phil Collins and love the songs - "You'll Be In My Heart" was nominated for an Oscar.

My big problem here is a weak villain. Clayton can be telegraphed from a mile off. Even how he dies is a little odd. Yeah, they could have kept the panther from earlier around, and that probably would have been fine.

While not my all-time favorite Disney movies, this one is still a nice adventure. It might especially be fun for boys who think "music" means "princesses." Give this one a whirl when you're feeling in the need to go native.

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